Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Funny that.

I read an interesting fact on facebook the other day.
It does happen occasionally.
Most people who come to the USA for the first time are most surprised by the gaps down the doors in public toilets....or restrooms as they are delicately called over here.
I remember being shocked by them too.
I still don't like it.
Donna gets really angry about it.  The gaps are about an inch wide (or two) on both sides of the door.
Also, the walls and door are really high above floor level.
This is sometimes so high it barely shields the toilet bowl.
I have to admit it is very disconcerting to be 'using the facilities' and at the same time be able to watch all the comings and goings in the loo.
Glenn made a comment once about being able to just hand someone a toilet roll, if theirs had run out, by just passing it across.
You would barely have to lean down.
I always know I am back in England when I can comfortably visit the 'ablutions hut' without fear of being on public display.

I suppose we Brits are all a bit fussy with toilets.  I know I am. 
I do love a spotlessly clean toilet.  They are clean here actually....just a bit 'open to the world'.
My mother always used to pride herself on the condition of our toilet.
"Cleaner than any hospital toilet" she would announce.
I don't know about that though.  I have seen some pretty grotty hospital toilets.

We are hoping to have a new bathroom installed this year.  It will depend on the estimates of course, but I hope we can.
It will be the downstairs bathroom, the one visitors use (I am the only one who generally uses the upstairs one).
I do hope we can do it.  It would be lovely to have a new loo that doesn't have to be flushed 2 or 3 times (I have trained the chaps currently in this household to perform this manoeuvre now) to ensure nothing lingers.
Funny how bliss can be a sparkling new bog, but these things me anyway.

How did I write a blog about toilets?   I am sure I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Knitty Nora

Alan and Bubba are still best mates.
I love seeing them like this. 

He has also made friends with Sally, which is no mean feat as she is a little nervous of men.
We think she may have been treated badly by a man at some point before she came to us.
She certainly hasn't been treated badly since she has been here.

Yesterday, Sunday, it was off to ice hockey to watch the Milwaukee Admirals play the Rockford Icehogs.
It was a special game as it was the Admirals mascot, Roscoe's, birthday and there were lots of other team mascots there too.

This one, Tux, was hilarious.
He really did work hard  interacting with the crowd.
He was from Pensylvania.
He even posed for photos.

He made Alan laugh.....and the rest of us too.

This is the Ice hogs mascot.
I liked him.  I love the way his pink belly hangs out under his shirt.

The little kids came out during one of the breaks.
They are so cute and wow, can they skate.

The mascots then formed two teams and, of course, Roscoe's team won.
Which was more than the Admirals did.
They were 3 - 1 ahead for ages and then the Icehogs got two very quick goals so it was 3 all.
They had to play extra time, with whoever got the first goal, winning.
Blooming Icehogs got a goal and it was all over.  In truth, they were the better team and deserved it.
It made for an entertaining evening though. 
It was good to catch up with Gary and there were a few fights too....not with Gary....between the hockey players.

In other news...........a friend told me about a scheme to help shelter animals where you knit them a blanket.  Apparently, it has been found that animals who have a knitted blanket in their cage are adopted more quickly than those who don't.
Nope...I don't know how that works either, but it seems it does.
Some friends are now knitting blankies for the shelter cats and dogs.  When they are adopted they take their blankie home with them.
I was keen to do this too.  I have not knitted in years but still know how.
So, we went wool and needle shopping.
Then Philip surprised me ........he wanted to have a go.
He said he could just about remember being taught to knit in primary school and if I could help him out, he wanted to knit a blankie.
So, I spent some time refreshing his memory on knitting skills and he had a go.

With Lily's careful supervision, ( it is hard to doing any bloody thing without Lily's careful supervision, she is sitting on my lap now helping me type) he set to clicketty clacking.
He is doing pretty well.
Ok, there has been a certain amount (rather a lot) of swearing & cursing but he hasn't given up.
It may take a while, but I am sure that one day a dog or cat will have a blankie created by Philip.
Real men knit !!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What whiskey?

And this was before the whiskey tasting.

Saturday we visited the Milwaukee distillery.

We went there during Alanmas two years ago when they had just opened to the public, doing tours etc.
Well, they have greatly expanded and vamped up their tours & tastings since then so we went again.
It was fun and very informative.
After a very interesting tour and talk there were the tastings.
They don't just make whiskey but make vodka, gin, rum and absynthe too.

Philip was driving and did not partake in the libations, so I thought I would join Alan in sampling all they had on offer.
They gave large samples too.  Each shot was easily as big as a British optic measure (I know these things being a publican in a former existence).

First were a couple of vodkas, a straight vodka and a citrus one.
Me....yuk - and tipped it away.
Alan....yuk - but drank it anyway.

Next was their gin.
Me....yuk - and tipped it away.
Alan....yuk - but drank it....what the heck.

Now came rum.
Me.....yuk - and gave it to Alan.
Alan....mmm -  and drank both..lovely.

Next was their own whiskey.
Me.....yuk - and gave it to Alan.
Alan....yumm - and drank both...hic!

Now it was their whiskey & pumpkin blend.
Me.....yuk - and gave it to Alan.
Alan....oh yush...loverly woverly - and drank both.

Lastly was their rather large sample of absynthe.
Me....sniff....yukkkkkky yukk yuk - and gave it to Alan.'not that bad....yush.....grin ......I thinksh...I can...manage boths - and drank both.

Alan was rather mellow for the rest of the day, bless him.
I think I could have drunk a couple of them if I had been allowed to drown them in lemonade or something.
Having gained new insight into the making of spirits we headed to the 'liquor store' where you buy the distillery's stuff at lower prices than they sell it themselves.
This is a shame as you'd think their prices would be lower thus encouraging people to buy while they are there.
Anyway, having bought the whiskey they make, Alan spotted a "White Whiskey".
Philip and Alan were both intrigued by this and so a bottle was purchased.
Later that evening Alan decided to try a 'wee dram'. was pants.
It was more than pants, it was disgusting.   Not one to give up easily, Alan tried mixing this noxious substance with various mixers.  Nothing worked.  Apparently, it was rough and raw and nothing tamed it.
Philip had a go, confident that Alan was being a wuss and that he would be able to master the beast.  He failed utterly.
They eventually gave up and for the first time ever, booze was tipped down the sink.
So, all was not lost.
Our sink often gets a bit bunged up but I think those pipes are probably cleaner now than they have ever been and there will be no more blockages for some time.

I did ask Alan what this shite, I mean white whiskey was called.
"Death's Door"
As ever, the clue was in the name.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

And the little one said..............

"There were five in the bed and the little one said..........."

I suppose I shall just have to make the bed later.
Alanmas is in full swing.
He has only had to shovel once since he has been here.  That is bloody good going.
Actually, it seems that December and February are usually the snowiest months with January being the coldest.
Philip and Alan went to the cinemas last week and were going again tonight but Philip got a flat tyre on the way to work and must get that seen to when he gets home.
Last week they saw The Hobbit in 48fps 3D (whatever  that is) and really enjoyed it.
On Saturday we plan on visiting the Milwaukee distillery.  This had only just opened for tours when we last went.  That was with Alan too.
Now they have expanded and it should be fun.
Alan wants to get some more of their whiskey and I expect Philip won't come out empty handed either.
I might even have a "wee dram" during the sampling this time....although it won't be whiskey.

Bubba is still very happy it is Alanmas.
He does love a blankie and a lap.
What is Alan doing in the bathroom?
Lily had been wailing that she wanted a drink out of the tap, but it must be the bathroom tap.
Not the sink ....the bath.
I explained this to Unky Al and then found him standing in the bath in his socks.
He was muttering that he didn't mind putting the tap on for Lily but he didn't want to get his socks wet.
I kindly reminded him that he didn't actually have to stand in the bath and that he could just slide the shower doors out of the way.
So this is what he did.

Lily seemed quite happy with the result.
What a lovely Unky Al or, as he has now informed us, he is called Hunky Al.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Alanmas begins.

The tree had to come down....sadly.
It took 3 days to take down and pack all the house decorations, the Christmas ornaments and tree.
I thought I might end up paying for it and I have.

Alanmas began on Tuesday.
There were a few minor complications with his flights but nothing serious.
Alan's flight from the UK to Detroit was slightly delayed when he landed but he was lucky that his flight from Detroit to Chicago was also a bit behind so he could catch it.  He was also very lucky because all the previous flights to Chicago had been cancelled due to weather.
Anyway, Philip picked him up from Chicago safely and he is now safe, snug and basking in the glorious Milwaukee weather.

Here he is opening his Alanmas presents.
He seems happy with them.

The house looks bare without all the Christmas fruppery but a little bit of me likes it.
I do like to see clear surfaces and floors (the Alanmas detritus was soon cleared away).
Philip and I received lovely Alanmas gifts too.

Previously I said I thought I might pay for spending 3 days wrapping ornaments and packing them away in totes.  The lifting heavy china & glass Christmas ornaments, wrapping them and bending to put them away and doing the same thing with all the usual house ornaments in put them back on shelves and tables..........resulted in my back giving out a couple of days ago.
I have had very little sleep for the last two nights.
I wake up with severe back spasms and just cannot find a way to lie in bed comfortably.
I have been taking pills and rubbing in ointment (nothing like a good old bit of gloop to do nothing at all) but I know that it will only be rest and time that makes any difference.
Alan and Philip are going to see The Hobbit tonight in 48fps 3D (whatever that means) and I cannot go.  I would not be able to sit that long to watch it in 48fps 3D (whatever that means) even if it is wonderful.
I shall have to watch it when it is out on diddly dee or blu ray.  I wonder if they will be in 48fps (whatever that means) too?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rather Bracing

Well...I know I have complained a little ( a bloody lot) about the cold here but it is now the coldest it has ever been since we have lived here - 16+ years.

In fact, there is talk on the news of record breaking cold temps.
Today I have not gone out.
Milwaukee schools are all closed and most 'non profit' organisations are also closed.
Philip received an email from his company this morning saying they were open.

Todays temperature is around minus 46C.
Alanmas begins tomorrow.
I do hope he has his winter bloomers on when he arrives as it is going to be quite a shock coming from mild Guernsey to here right now.

I do feel so bad about homeless people although I have heard there are 'warming stations' that have been set up.
I do hope they have provided shelter too.
Frostbite sets in within minutes if you are out in these conditions.
I don't know how the animals survive.  They too must be suffering terribly.
I am feeding as many as I can but today there hasn't been one bird at the feeder.  I think they must be huddled somewhere.
Trouble is birds have very high metabolisms and I know they cannot go more than a few hours without any food.

We did this with our Christmas tree.....of course ours is resting on around 3 feet of snow and ice.
It was suggested on facebook.  Rather than throw your tree out by the kerb, lean it up against a tree in your garden.
It provides shelter for small animals.  We also put corn in and around ours so there is a some extra food.  When Spring eventually arrives (around May) we can dispose of it then.
Meanwhile if it gives a little shelter from the brutally cold winds then it is doing some good.

The UK has major flooding problems.
I hope that stops soon too as that is no fun either.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy My Arse

Ha ha....I bet there were more than a few people round here who were not happy when they woke this morning, with a hangover, to find how much more snow had fallen over night.

Just as well Philip didn't have to go to work because he would not have got the car out and our road in unlikely to be ploughed until tomorrow.

Merv was out early, looking after his hole and snow blowing even while the snow was still falling fast.
Bless him.
Mrs Merv must love this time of year.

Philip is currently watching The Hobbit extended edition, on Blu ray.
It is one of his Christmas prezzies.
He plans on seeing the latest Hobbit movie at the cinema with Alan when he is here.
Donna and Lauren saw it in 48fps 3D......whatever that means and she thought it was amazing.
She isn't really into this type of film but she said the 48fps (whatever that means) makes it so life like you actually think you are there.
She said the 48fps (whatever that means) makes you feel as if you are watching real people in a play.  She said that when the camera angle was from above the forest it felt like you were looking down from up a tree.
This has intrigued me.
I rarely (never) go to the cinema, preferring to watch dvds but maybe I should try out this 48fps (whatever that means) mallarky just to see if it is as amazing as she says.
I might go with Philip and Alan if they can find it showing here in 48fps 3D (whatever that means).